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Yahoo Examines Search Trends in May 1st Aftermath

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Yahoo Examines Search Trends in May 1st Aftermath

When big news is released, the world of modern information shakes – and nowhere is this more visible than with the search engine trends. After the official news of Osama Bin Laden’s death on May 1st, 2011, the search engines saw a surge of queries related to the military action, region, associated politicians, and more. In the aftermath, Yahoo is examining their search trends to see what people were looking for.

Most Searched for Man in the World

The U.S. has been searching for Bin Laden for a long time, but the American people have never searched more heavily than on May 1st. One in five of all searches conducted on Yahoo were inquiries about Osama Bin Laden. Some of the queries, however, may be surprising. While the top search (“Is Osama Bin Laden dead?”) is hardly a shock, the fifth most popular search of “Who is Osama Bin Laden” may be a surprise. According to Yahoo, 66% of those searching for the basic details of who Bin Laden was were between the ages of 13 and 17. Other top queries included questions about who killed Bin Laden, how he died, how old he was, and how tall he was.

Pakistan Makes It to the Map

Most Americans (63%, according to some studies) haven’t taken the time to learn where each country in the Middle East is actually located. That’s changed for Pakistan, with the term “Pakistan map” spiking by 2,594%. Further, “Pakistan news” saw a 610% increase, and both “Islamabad” and “Abbotabad” (the region and location of Bin Laden’s death, respectively) went “off the charts.” More specific searches for the Bin Laden compound also abounded.

America: Politicians, Patriotism, and Conspiracies

With President Barack Obama’s speech on Sunday, it’s little surprise that he saw a bolstered search rate. His predecessor George W Bush also got to the spotlight, although he was searched for about six times less often than Barack Obama. Many of the searches about Obama were related to his approval rating (which saw a nine point jump). Other America-oriented searches also took place, with “September 11th” up over a thousand percent, “US Flag” up by over 700%, and “Star Spangled Banner lyrics” up by over 200%. Of course, conspiracy enthusiasts are also hard at work searching, with “conspiracy theories” and “9/11 conspiracy theories” seeing more than double their normal search volume.

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Rob D Young

Rob has been insatiably obsessed with Google, search engine technology, and the trends of the web-based world since he began ... [Read full bio]

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